SGR land valuation reports ‘missing’
Thursday, April 15th, 2021
- EX-CEO Tom Chavangi says he was forced to adhere to the decisions of the chairman and the plenary.
- But former chairman Muhammad Swazuri says the commission authorised direct payments.
Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
Valuation reports that were relied on by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) to pay Sh12 billion in compensation for land acquired for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway have gone missing.
Public Accounts Committee chaired by Opiyo Wandayi learnt that the reports were not available at the National Lands Commission (NLC) Offices.
NLC acting Chief Executive Kabale Tache told the committee that attempts by the commission to get the reports were not successful.
“From my experience it will be difficult to get the reports the committee is asking for. Even the ones we have I don’t think they are authentic enough,” she said.
Tache (pictured) told MPs that they are sometimes forced to ask valuers to go back to the ground and confirm whether what was paid for exists.
Tache told the MPs that some of the reports they handed over to the Auditor General in respect to the matter were undated and unsigned.
During an earlier session, former Kenya Railways chairman Atanas Maina said his efforts to get the valuation reports from the commission to confirm details of the payments were not successful.
“The whole process of valuation was done by the NLC. KRC only disbursed the cash using the schedule provided by the commission. Our role was payment,” Maina said.
Wandayi said it was shocking that the valuation reports were missing.
“Some of these valuation reports do not conform to the law as they are undated unsigned and in some cases outdated,” he said.
Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo said it was a shame that a department that has competent valuers did a shambolic job and demanded that action be taken against those who are responsible.
The Chief Executive said that because of the complications that arose from the first phase of SGR compensations, she had directed that all valuation reports are handed over to her before any payment is made.
During the session, suspended CEO Tom Chavangi and former National Commission (NLC) member Tomik Mboya blamed the then chairperson Muhammad Swazuri for the irregularities.
Chavangi claimed his powers were usurped by the commission on the compensations while Mboya, who chaired the Land Acquisition and Compensation Committee, said they did not authorise the payments.
Mboya blamed Swazuri for the payments, saying he did not involve other commissioners in his decision to write to Kenya Railways directing them to compensate affected persons.
Chavangi told the legislators that in most occasions, he was forced to adhere to the decisions of the chairman and the plenary.
“My powers were usurped by the commission which worked through committees and any decisions that they made, both at plenary and in this committee, were final,” he said.
But during a past appearance before the committee, Swazuri told the MPs that the decision to authorise direct payments was made by the commission and not him as an individual.